Chris Hankinson will miss the start of Wigan Warriors’ Super 8s campaign after being sidelined though injury.
The new recruit will be ‘out for a few weeks’ with a damaged retina sustained in just his second game for the club.
He left the field during last week’s 25-20 win over Catalans Dragons after clashing heads with team-mate Tommy Leuluai and didn’t come back on.
“He’s going to be out for a few weeks, he’s damaged his retina so the most important thing for me is looking after Chris and making sure he’s okay,” said coach Shaun Wane.
Hankinson arrived just two days before making his debut against St Helens last month, providing much-needed cover in the centres with Oliver Gildart out until early September with a broken thumb.
But Wane has a new headache as he considers options to fill the position for Wigan’s Super 8s clash with Castleford on Friday.
“Oliver Gildart is out as well so we’re struggling with outside backs at the minute, with (wingers) Dom Manfredi and Joe Burgess also out. So someone will have to fill in like Willie Isa or John Bateman,” Wane explained.
But Wane acknowledges injury problems aren’t unique to the Warriors, especially at this stage in the season, and said the build-up to Friday’s game has otherwise been good as they look to make the most of a blank weekend in the calendar to accommodate the Challenge Cup semi-finals.
“This past week we’ve trained hard,” Wane said. “It was a good week.
“There were a few players didn’t train but I think every Super League club will be struggling with injuries at the moment.”
And Wane is confident Hankinson will make an impact for Wigan when he returns from injury.
The 24-year-old former Swinton Lions player is still working to finish his apprenticeship as an electrician, but Wane thinks he has a bright rugby league career ahead of him and it’s important the club look after him while he recovers.
“That’s the most important thing,” said the coach.
“Chris is unlucky, I thought his first game against Saints was fantastic, second game he got injured. He’ll come back stronger and fitter.
“He’s a popular lad as well and he’s in good shape, he looks after himself and trains hard so he’s going to be a good member of the team.”